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Blu-ray Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Royalties have slowed down for Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) and her savings are beginning to run out. With bills piling up, Travers is finally forced to acknowledge Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) plea to adapt her novel into a film. Miserably Travers travels to Hollywood to help scriptwriter Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) and songwriters Robert and Richard Sherman (B.J Novak and Jason Schwartzman) bring her beloved Mary Poppins to life.

The film is follows two different story lines, one about the creation of the film, and the other about Travers’ upbringing in Australia by her alcoholic father (Colin Farrell). For the most part, the entire Australia storyline is completely useless, and really damages what could have been an excellent film. Sure it was necessary to give Travers a backstory explaining why she was so difficult and seemingly heartless, but the way it is executed just feels corny. Not to mention the possibly intentional incest innuendos that comes along in that story. Meanwhile, the story showing Travers in Hollywood is extremely well done, and gives a great insight into the making of one of Disney’s best films.

The leading performances by Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are spot on, and it’s truly shocking that neither of them were nominated at this years Oscars. One of the biggest problems with Saving Mr. Banks is that it is a Disney film. Since Disney is just obsessed with making Walt Disney seem like the greatest person ever to grace the earth, we are given what may very well not be an honest portrayal of Walt Disney. Also, much of the film feels like an advertisement for Disney itself, especially a scene where Walt and Travers visit Disneyland.

The newly released Bluray of the film looks and sounds fantastic. The only disappointing thing about the disc is the surprising sparse amount of special features. There are only three additions on the disc, totaling at just under 25 minutes. I mean, come on! The least they could have given us was Mary-Karaoke!

The special features are:

The Walt Disney Studios: From Poppins To The Present
Yay, another 17-minute add for the Disney lot tour! This feature shows the changes that Disney studios has undergone from the production of Mary Poppins in 1964 to the present day. Led by the film’s director John Lee Hancock, we are given a tour of the lot, as well as an interview with songwriter Richard Sherman in what used to be his office.

“Let’s Go Fly A Kite”
This is the best feature on the disc, unfortunately it doesn’t even last for 2 minutes. This snippet shows the cast and crew of the film serenading Richard Sherman with a rendition of the film’s final song on the last day of filming. It once again shows us why Emma Thompson is the coolest person ever.

Deleted Scenes
Also included are three short deleted scenes, which really didn’t belong in the film.

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.